Humanities Highlights


Flow of SBAC Lesson

This week, with teachers' assistance, we have begun to capture videos of strong SBAC prep lessons.

In particular for this week - watch this video of Rachel Smallwood, G4 RDP, as she clearly states her key points and models the thinking job in her I Do. As Rachel's lesson progresses, Rachel is annotating her work on the board, while students are annotating their own papers.

Notice how Rachel models finding the thinking job by calling out key words and structures that indicate the genre of the text. She does not simply give it to students.

Rachel provides clear directions on how to annotate their papers. She thinks aloud, stopping and naming words she would underline or phrases to jot in the margins. Students know that they should be doing the same on their own papers.

As Rachel reviews, responses in the We Do, she pushes students to give justification. She not only points out the correct response but also has students discuss the distractors for each question.

One final note, during the video you will notice Rachel referencing Knowledge or President cards. This is a thoughtful engagement strategy that Rachel is using during SBAC prep. As Rachel described, "I do not give Dojo points or Rockets for participating because it is an expectation. I printed the trading cards for the first four presidents and gave them out when students were clearly excited or participating. The goal is to collect all 43 and they are into it!"

SBAC Prep Week 1- R. Smallwood


Annotated Double Plans

Prior to teaching a lesson, it is important that you know what annotations you want your students to use during the lessons.

One planning and internalization strategy that RRWC teachers have been using is annotating a copy of the students notes prior to the lesson. They mark and make the annotations that they want students to use during the lesson.

Here is an example of what Jackie Wardrip's (G3, RRWC) annotated Non Fiction notes look like.


G5 SBAC Plans

We are excited to announce that our planning specialist, Cristina, welcomed a baby girl into her family last week. This slightly early but obviously very exciting surprise, means the timeline for getting 5th grade plans uploaded will be shifted. Here are the approximate dates that these plans will be available:

4-11: Day 11

4-12: Day 12

4-13: Day 13:

4-14: Day 14

4-15: Day 15

We are happy to work with you as you internalize these plans. I will update you later this week on the status and timeline for week 4 plans.

Student Facing Plans

As we go into this upcoming week, here are a few things we ask that you please note to best set our Rocketeers up for success.

In order to transfer more of the cognitive load onto students to find the genre and thinking job, the table that you saw in Week 1 plans with the thinking job and genre written out should not be shown to students in this upcoming week. Instead, state the following key points and model for your students how to find the genre and thinking job:

Key points for finding genre:

Good readers always infer what the genre is before reading. When we infer the genre, we:

  • Look for clues, which include
    • Title
    • Pictures and text features
    • The first and last paragraphs
  • Think about what we know about different genres
  • Put our clues and what we know about different genres to come up with a genre for this text

Key points for determining the thinking job:

Good readers always think about thinking jobs for different genres. When we find our thinking job, we:

  • Think about what genre this text is
  • Remember the most important questions we should ask ourselves as we read the text and annotate

Once each of these key points are stated, you can then work with your students to identify the exact genre and thinking job for the text. In order to support you, we have made student facing SBAC prep plans for next week. These student facing plans can be found at the same Box links and will include blank tables so that your students can fill in the exact genre/thinking job after you deliver the key points/teacher model. We've attached a copy of a G3, G4, and G5 plan as an example.

Teachers may continue to use the teacher-facing versions just for their reference. Additionally, our fabulous planning specialists will include these blank tables and answers for the right genre/thinking job in teacher facing plans in Week 3 plans and onwards.

Please reach out if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing students engaging in this thinking work for genres/thinking jobs next week in your classrooms!

Rocketship Humanities

We are a team that is dedicated to ensuring that all students receive an excellent literacy instruction. We believe that this can be achieved through high quality professional development, strategic coaching and support, dedicated school staff, and an unyielding belief that every child can succeed.